Barcelona held by Deportivo La Coruna as Lucas fires comeback
Barcelona threw away a two-goal lead against Deportivo La Coruna to draw 2-2 at the Nou Camp, dropping two vital points that could see them surrender their place at the top of the Primera Division by the end of the weekend.
A wonderful Lionel Messi free-kick saw Barca take the lead towards the end of a difficult first half and then a pile-driver from Ivan Rakitic around the hour mark looked to have sealed the points.
But, just as they did on the final day of last season to avoid relegation, Depor crept back into the game to earn a point. First Lucas Perez cut the deficit in half and then the in-form Spaniard laid the ball on for Alex Bergantinos to smash past Claudio Bravo and level, inflicting a third consecutive draw on Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid now have the chance to go level on points with the Catalans at the top of the Primera Division if they beat Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, while Real Madrid could cut their deficit to their arch rivals to two points should they win at Villarreal. Barcelona now turn their attentions to the Club World Cup in Japan and should Atletico win both their games before Christmas, the Catalans will be knocked off top spot.
Luis Enrique's side had drawn 1-1 at Valencia in their previous league outing and were also held by the same scoreline at Bayer Leverkusen in their final Champions League group game.
They were up against a Depor side who had won three and drawn three of their last six games and were missing Neymar, who had injured his groin in training the day before the game in Leverkusen, so Sandro Ramirez took his place on the left of attack.
The Galicians' defensive tactics put the brakes on Barcelona's usual flowing attacking football and they almost made it to the break unscathed, but went behind to a special free-kick from Messi, who curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner with his left-foot.
The Catalans were allowed more freedom to attack after the break and thought they had scored a second when Jordi Alba's looping pass allowed Suarez to tap into an empty net, but the Uruguayan was offside. There was no ruling out Rakitic's sensational hit though, the Croatian spanking the ball into the net from outside the area.
Perez thought he had pulled a goal back for the visitors when he followed up Cardoso's shot that had come back off the crossbar, but the Spaniard was correctly ruled offside.
But it was not long before he scored a legitimate goal.
Barcelona were caught outnumbered at the back and Depor broke quickly, Cardoso brought the ball into the box and with a deft touch flicked it into the path of Perez, who took one touch before shooting beyond Bravo at the near post, netting his sixth goal in six games.
And the comeback was complete nine minutes later, Perez dribbling towards the area and slipping the ball into the path of Bergantinos, who unleashed a right footed drive into the far corner.